Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Where is My Pond?

I will admit that I have always been a big fish in a small pond. I was never popular on a large scale. No one voted me to be anything in my yearbook. In my school of 2000+ people a lot of people probably didn't know who I was. But within my small cliques I was the top dog. Up until 7th grade I attended small private schools. I was very outgoing and enjoyed being the center of attention. I was downright obnoxious most of the time but I loved the attention that I received. Even when I switched to a different private school for 6th grade it didn't take me long to establish myself as the alpha there as well.

Things changed when I started going to public school. There were hundreds of kids any many of them had known each other since nursery school. I didn't know anyone and I felt like I had nothing in common with these people. But it didn't take me long to realize that through smaller group activities I could be the center of attention again. Through music, sports and clubs I was able to once again be the big fish. The transition from intermediate school to high school was fairly easy. All of my friends from intermediate school went to my high school. My circle of friends continued to grow through my involvement in extracurricular activities. I loved a lot of things about high school. It was great for my self esteem and made my already over sized ego grow even bigger.

For college I went to a school that none of my friends were going to. I was two states away from home and everything that was familiar to me. I was very homesick at first but by the end of the week cliques had formed in my dorm and I was the big fish again. I really came into my own sophomore year when I became involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. College was even better than high school. By the end of college I knew who I was and had the confidence to go out and start my adult life. With every move after that I was able to maintain the same social success. My entire social life developed from friends that I made in sports or at work. Even though I always started at the same place (new town, no friends)I always managed to develop a great social life. But New York has been different.

For the past 5 years I have essentially worked from home and I have not found a karate school in my style or other sports group near me. I have no opportunities to make friends. I have tried different groups here but nothing leads anywhere. I'm proud of myself for putting the effort out and actually leaving the house but sometimes I feel lonelier when I'm among other people than I do when I'm at home alone. Sitting in the back of Zumba class watching everyone chatting with each other and feeling completely invisible makes me feel very embarrassed and small. I don't like that feeling. At least when I'm home no one is watching me and thinking "Why doesn't that girl have any friends?" or some of the more damaging thoughts that come into my head when I'm feeling sorry for myself.

When I first moved to New York, my old friends were super excited when I came back into town. There would be a dozen people waiting to go out to dinner with me and hang out. People also came up to New York to visit me a couple times a year. We would go out dancing and party like old times. Over the years, I have lost touch with many of my old friends. The few that I still associate with seem to be busy when I come into town. I usually end of eating by myself and hanging out in my hotel room. Or worse, when they are available the night out doesn't live up to my expectations. We seem to have less in common and a lot more awkward moments. We never have as good a time as I remembered us having in the past. When I first moved to New York I was excited that I had to travel to Pennsylvania regularly for meetings and conferences. It was a great way to catch up with people without dipping into my own money. But now its just a reminder of how much things have changed.

Okay, so I'm done feeling sorry for myself. I have to believe that at some point one of the activities that I try will lead to me having a social life. I have to try harder and step outside my comfort zone more. I don't have to be the queen bee again but it would be nice to at least belong to a hive.

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